Bahram Chobin

Bahrām Chobin
Great King (Shah) of Persia (usurper)
Coin of Bahram Chobin
Reign 590–591
Born Unknown
Birthplace Rey[1]
Died 592
Predecessor Khosrau II
Successor Khosrau II (restored)
Royal House House of Mihran
Dynasty Sasanian Empire
Religious beliefs Zoroastrianism

Bahrām Chobin (Persian: بهرام چوبین), also known as Mehrbandak,[2] was a famous Eran spahbod (Persian army-commander) during the late 6th century in Persia. He usurped the Sassanid throne from Khosrau II, ruling for a year as Bahram VI (590-591).[3] However, he was later defeated by Khosrau II and was forced to flee.


Bahram Chobin was son of Bahrām Gošnasp,[4] of the House of Mihran, one of the seven Parthian clans of the Sasanian Empire. Bahram Chobin had three siblings whom were named: Gordiya, Gorduya and Mardansina.

Life as Eran spahbod

Bahram Chobin originally started his career as Margrave of Ray, but in 572 he commanded a cavalry force which captured a Byzantine fortress and was promoted to Eran spahbod of Atropatene and Media.[5] After being promoted he fought a long but indecisive campaign against the Byzantines in northern Mesopotamia.

In late 588, a massive army of Turks invaded the eastern provinces of the Sasanian empire, reaching as far as Badghis and Herat.[6] Bahram Chobin was elected as satrap of Khorasan and commander-in-chief to lead 12,000[7] Sasanian forces against the Turks. After reaching Central Asia his army ambushed a large army of Turks and conquered Balkh. He then crossed the Oxus river and trapped and defeated the Turks near Bukhara,[8] killing the Göktürk Bagha/Yabghu Qaghan with an arrow. The Turkic forces is said to have outnumbered his troops five to one.

After his great victory against the Turks he was sent to Caucasus to repel an invasion of nomads, possibly the Khazars. Bahram was once again victorious. Bahram Chobin was then made commander of the Sasanian forces against the Byzantines once again, and successfully defeated a Byzantine force in Georgia. However, he later suffered a minor defeat by an Byzantine army on the banks of the Araxes river.

Rebellion against Hormizd IV

After his defeat Hormizd IV disgraced him, he removed Bahram Chobin from the Sasanian office and sent him a chain and a spindle to show that he regarded him as a low slave “as ungrateful as a woman”. Thus, he along with the main Persian army, rebelled against the Shah and marched toward Ctesiphon. Hormizd was killed and his son, Khosrau II, unable to fight such an army, fled to Byzantine territory and Bahram sat on the throne as Great King (Shah) of Persia.

Hormizd IV tried to organize an effective resistance against Bahram Chobin. The Sasanian aristocracy, however, did not support him. Not even the religious leaders did. Hormizd IV responded by imprisoning many Sasanian nobles, however, it did not make the situation better, because the Sasanian aristocracy revolted against him and freed the imprisoned nobles. Hormizd IV was blinded and Khosrau II became king, however, Bahram Chobin wanted the throne for himself, he defeated the army of Khosrau II around the Zagros mountains, capturing his uncle Vinduyih. However, Khosrau II and his uncle Vistahm managed to escape. Vinduyih later managed to escape from his prison and fled over to Khosrau II.

Life as Shah of Persia


Vinduyih, the uncle of Khosrau II, was sent with a large army granted by the Byzantine Emperor Maurice. They went to Armenia to outflank Bahram, who was defeated in the lowlands and lost Ctesiphon. He retreated to Azerbaijan and then wrote a letter to Musel Mamikonean, an Armenian spahbed who was helping Khosrau II, the letter said: "As for you Armenians who demonstrate an unseasonable loyalty, did not the house of Sasan destroy your land and sovereignty? Why otherwise did your fathers rebel and extricate themselves from their service, fighting up until today for your country?"[9] Bahram Chobin in his letter promised that the Armenians would become partners of the Sasanian Empire ruled by a Parthian dynastic family if he accepted his proposal to betray Khosrau II.[10] Musel, however, rejected the offer.[11]

Khosrau II's army then marched towards Azerbaijan and defeated Bahram Chobin at the Battle of Blarathon, forcing him to flee to the eastern parts of Persia. While Bahram Chobin was fleeing to the east he defeated a Karen army and later arrived in Ferghana[12] where he was received honorably by the Khaqan of the Turks, entered his service and achieved heroic feats against his adversaries. Khosrau II, however, could not feel secure as long as Bahram Chobin lived, and he succeeded in having him assassinated.[13] The remainder of Bahram's troops returned to northern Iran and joined the rebellion of Vistahm which took place in 590/1–596 or 594/5–600.[14]


There are many fables attributed to Bahram VI, as is the norm for many heroes in Persian literature. The chapters in Volume VIII of Ferdowsi's 11th-century Shahnameh[15] on the reigns of "Hurmuzd, Son of Nushirwan," and "Khusrau Parviz," both of which are almost as much about Bahram Chobin as about Hormizd or his son.

Following the collapse of the Sasanian Empire, the Samanid dynasty formed of descendants of Bahram Chobin, became one of the first independent Persian dynasties.[16]

Family tree

Bahrām Gošnasp
Bahram Chobin
Mihran Bahram-i Chubin
Saman Khuda


External links

  • Encyclopedia Iranica, "vii. Bahrām VI Čōbīn", Shahbazi, A.Sh
  • Cited by Richard Frye
Bahrām Chobin
Sassanid dynasty
Preceded by
Khosrau II
Great King (Shah) of Persia
Succeeded by
Khosrau II (restored)

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.